Trump to Give $10,000 to Hero Buffalo Bus Driver

10:42 PM, Nov 1, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Donald Trump is giving $10,000 to the Buffalo bus driver who coaxed a suicidal woman off a bridge.

On October 18, Darnell Barton spotted a woman who had climbed over a guardrail and stood leaning over the afternoon traffic zipping along the Scajaquada Expressway below.

WEB EXTRA: Hear the full interview a WGRZ Producer did with Trump in the video player above

The bus video system captured Barton, 37, leaving the bus and the 20-something woman looking back at him. Her gaze then returns to the traffic below.

"That's when I went and put my arms around her," said Barton, a father of two. "I felt like if she looked down at that traffic one more time it might be it."

With the woman in a bear hug, Barton asked if she wanted to come back over the rail. She hadn't spoken up to that point but said yes.

The video shows Barton tenderly helping her climb back over the guardrail and sit down. Then he sits next to her on the concrete. He asked her name and other questions to distract her, he said, learning she was a student.

"Then she said, 'You smell good,'" he said.

A corrections officer and a female driver who'd been behind the bus came to help, speaking to the woman until police and an ambulance arrived.

"While I was holding her, listening to their questions, I just prayed," the bus driver said. "Whatever was on her mind, it had her. It really, really had her."

When the ambulance drove away, Barton got back on his bus - and received a standing ovation from the high school students and other passengers who'd been watching through the windows. He finished his route, wrote up a report and went home.

Billionaire Donald Trump tells us he was so moved by Barton's actions, he wants to send him a check.

Trump sent out a Tweet Friday saying, "The bus driver who saved the woman from jumping off the bridge was a really cool, great guy. I'm going to send him 10-thousand dollars he deserves it!"

After making several appearances on national television, Barton's good deed managed to get the attention of one of the richest men in the world.

"People were passing by and just passing by. She's hanging over the side of a bridge and they're acting like there's nothing even happening. And, he stopped his bus and went out and went into action. And, you know, the softness of his voice and the beauty of his action actually convinced the young lady to step away from danger, so I thought he did a fantastic job," said Trump in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Trump says he has not spoken with Barton, but he will sign the check Monday when he returns to New York.

"I love doing it when I see something wonderful like that. That was just wonderful what he did. And with such compassion and such heart, and such a nice guy and I just loved watching it. It was just beautiful the way he did it and this is very special and he's a special guy and he has to be rewarded for that," says Trump.

Yet, after all of this, Barton says he does not consider himself a hero.

"I've lived in this country all my life and I know we love our heroes. But no, because I had no idea it would go, you know, national or viral, you know, I got a text message earlier saying hey you're trending. I was like, oh cool. I have no idea what that means, so, you know, going viral and trending, I had no idea, but I appreciate it all, I appreciate it all," says Barton.

We spoke with the NFTA spokesperson, and he told us Barton is overwhelmed by all of the attention this week, and he is just trying to get back to his normal routine.


Includes reporting from Carolyn Thompson with the Associated Press

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